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Syria

Publié le July 31, 2012
Press briefing given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman (excerpts)
Paris, July 20, 2012

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Syria

Q. – (…) Yesterday you said there’s no Plan B after this veto. What are we going to do now? The next Friends of Syria group meeting is due in September.

THE SPOKESMAN – I said there was no Plan B because what are the options we now have before us?

Firstly, chaos and Syria continuing to descend into chaos. That being the case, only one option remains: namely, political transition. That’s what we’re going to work towards, focusing the effort on two points in particular. Firstly, supporting, encouraging and standing alongside the Syrian opposition. We’ve said it many times. The latest illustration was the Friends of the Syrian People conference, when we invited many representatives of the Syrian opposition, who met in the House of Syria we created specially for the occasion. We’re going to continue to do it by also working on another subject, which is obviously mobilization in the humanitarian field, because we can see – we’ve already said it, but I think it’s important to repeat it – that the flow of refugees is currently growing in all the countries neighbouring Syria, and this clearly raises huge problems in terms of the reception capacity of the countries concerned, huge problems obviously for these people, who have lost everything, who are helpless, forced to cross the country’s borders under tragic circumstances. Here at the Quai d’Orsay two days ago, we had a meeting with a number of French humanitarian NGOs to see how to work together more, in the context of the humanitarian crisis that’s increasing as the situation gets worse in Syria and as Bashar al-Assad’s regime continues massacring and persecuting its own people. That’s what we’re working towards first of all.

The second direction is continuing to strengthen and broaden constantly the network of people in the international community who also want to help change the situation in Syria. So at the Paris conference on 6 July, we had more than 100 countries and international organizations represented.

Coming up we have – it was announced by the Moroccans yesterday – a Friends of the Syrian People conference in Morocco; we’re going to work with that in mind, stepping up contacts with all our partners in the international community.

Finally, we attach the highest value to the decisions to be taken on Monday at the General Affairs Council to strengthen the sanctions against the Syrian regime. (…)

Q. – You’ve taken into exile in France the Syrian regime’s General Tlass, who deserted his army. By taking this general in, what message is France sending Bashar al-Assad’s regime?

THE SPOKESMAN – There’s no particular message; at any rate, there’s one observation: this Syrian field officer, who is said to have been close to President Assad for a long time, made the decision to defect. It shows the extent to which Bashar al-Assad’s power, his inner circle is being eroded. It also shows the extent to which more and more of those who followed him at the outset are realizing that Bashar al-Assad’s policy is leading the country into chaos, and also the extent to which more and more of them are refusing to obey the criminal orders they receive.

I think the departure of this Syrian general reflects precisely the situation in which a growing number of Syrian officers and soldiers find themselves; they can no longer take part in the murderous frenzy of the Syrian President, who doesn’t hesitate – I repeat – to massacre his people in order to cling on to power.

Q. – It’s rumoured that General Tlass is likely to return to Syria.

THE SPOKESMAN – I can’t comment on all the rumours going around. I’ll simply say that if this person wishes to take a plane or car to cross the border and leave French territory, he can, it’s up to him.

Q. – What kind of temporary documentation does he have? If he wants to leave the country, how does he go about it?

THE SPOKESMAN – He shows the document which allowed him to enter and would allow him to leave, should he wish. (…)./.